What Spiritual Blessings Belong to God’s People in Christ? (Part 4)
This is the fourth part of a five-part blog series.
Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians (after he greets them, of course) with these words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1:3).
God’s blessings are not primarily material but spiritual, Paul says, and he tells the Ephesians (and all followers of Christ) that in Christ they have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. But what are those blessings? Paul describes at least five in Ephesians 1:3-14.
Blessing #4: Union with Christ
God has blessed his people by uniting them to Christ. The phrase “in Christ” or its equivalent (“in him,” “in the beloved”) is used 10 times in Ephesians 1:1-14. Clearly this concept of union with Christ is important to Paul! In Ephesians 1:9-10, Paul says that from the very beginning of creation, God’s purpose and plan has been to “unite all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and on earth.” These verses contain the central message of the letter, which is that the church has been united to and made alive with Christ, the one who has reconciled all things to himself.
In Christ, God brings all things together. This has been his plan from the beginning. Every event in history finds its ultimate meaning in Jesus. All things are summed up in him. He subdues all rebellion, reconciles all things to himself, and restores harmony to the universe. And he has done this through Jesus Christ. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians (which is Paul’s “companion piece” to his letter to the Ephesians), he says that in Christ God was pleased “to reconcile all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (1:20). There is great mystery in this verse, but it tells us that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the means God uses to make all things right in the world, and return all things to their original state of “very good.” And more than anything else that God has created, the church benefits from this great work of reconciliation and “summing up” of all things in Christ.
Christians have become the beneficiaries of God’s plan to “unite all things in him”. We have been united to and made alive with Christ, who has reconciled all things to himself. Now our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)!